Tourists to the U.S. Set a New Spending Record Last Year - Skift
Date:  3/6/2017

Written by: Dan Peltier
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International visitors to the United States spent more in 2016 than they did in 2015, despite the strength of the U.S. dollar against many foreign currencies and a slowing of international visitors.

The $247.1 billion international travelers spent in the U.S. last year is a 0.4 percent increase from the $246.2 billion they spent in 2015, according to data from the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office.

This growth comes despite the stagnating growth of international arrivals to the U.S. throughout 2016, and as international visitors spent more than $2 billion less on airfares in 2016 than they did the year before (a 5.9 percent decrease).

Slower spending growth shouldn’t be a surprise as about 0.9 percent fewer visitors were forecast to visit the U.S. last year compared to a record 77.5 million visitors in 2015, according to a Department of Commerce forecast made in November.

Official international visitor totals are expected next month but if the forecast is realized 2016 would be the first year since 2009 to post a decrease in foreign visitors. The Department of Commerce expects better news in 2017 — a 2.4 percent increase in foreign visitors for a new record of 78.6 million visitors. That’s all dependent on the Trump Administration’s immigration and visa policies, however, which remain uncertain or are still unfolding.

In contrast, Americans spent about $158.9 billion on international travel last year.

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